With so much going on this week, it was a wonder than I managed to find a turkey and get the Thanksgiving dinner on the table on time! I am, however, thankful, among other things, that the whole thing managed to come together perfectly, even if I do say so myself.
After sitting in tropical temperatures the previous Sunday, last weekend saw the beginning of the winter come with a vengeance. I left for work on the Friday prior, dressed appropriately, with a thick coat, hat, boots, scarf and gloves. Taking my daily constitutional I decided to walk past the Convention Center, which was, for the weekend, home to the Comic-Con Convention. Most people were in some sort of character apparel, so I did not look out of place when I marched through in my 'big bear' coat, sneakers, hat and two scarves. (I had added a scarf and changed my shoes for the walk) My gloves are shocking pink, so they stood out in a crowd! Of course, on an ordinary day in Austin, keeping weird is not out of place, but I felt as if I really fitted in! I was expecting a domination of super heroes, but was rather surprised at the lack thereof. Thinking back, however, comics were not all that of men dressed as arachnids or flying mammals. There were many beloved fairy tale characters interwoven into the fabric of the 2-d cartoons, and quite often the hero of the strip would be the poor downtrodden villain of the folk story. There were times, in some versions, when I actually felt sorry for the wolf. However, I digress! I did not see any of my childhood favourites wandering around the center, nor the more sophisticated characters of the magazines which I was encouraged to read from the age of seven. Despite the lack of wolves, pigs and grandmas, the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves, and no one was frowned upon for being over, or under dressed. As this was also the weekend that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who, there was an abundance of time lords, as well as warlords, overlords, underlords, none of whom resembled the lords whom I am used to, such as those from Downton Abbey, or those who sit in the big House in Westminster. There were also several other aliens, although to my knowledge, no daleks, (probably due to the lack of sofas!) although I was looking over my shoulder at every turn for the metal beast, and his exterminating tentacle! I managed to escape the world of fantasy, into the real world of fantasy that is 6th Street, and started to ponder on how an extra terrestrial, or a wolf, would have fitted in quite nicely!
Walking back to the office, I was stopped by a young woman who asked, "Where's the Conference Center at?" Oh how I resisted!! Every fibre of my being was screaming, "Do you mean, 'Where is the Conference Center?', or perhaps, 'Can you show me the way to the Conference Center?' and what happened to the word 'please'", but I was feeling very generous and a lesson in grammar probably would have ended in her screaming, 'Exterminate!' However, when I told her, very politely, 'Two blocks down to fourth, and then one block to the left', she answered with a very disbelieving, 'Huh?' I repeated my instructions, and watched as she carried on walking in the wrong direction. Either she did not understand my directions, or she was indeed an alien, hoping to make a grand entrance. Of course, if she was the latter, it was going to be difficult for her to achieve her objective, as she continued to march the opposite way, despite having gotten the local dialect down!
The weekend was just as cold. I knew that I would not be rushing home to spend time by the pool, unless it was in a frog suit! (Could have gone back to Comicon after my swim!) Instead, we did our Thanksgiving grocery shopping. As we entered Walmart, we spotted a group of nuns, no doubt gathering for their own fridge, and I was thrust into one of those, 'why did I say that' moments. Not just once, but on every turn, as we saw the sisters pushing their cart, I said, (and again, it was not quietly) 'Wonder what they are going to wear tomorrow?' Samantha, as always was ready to disown her mother, who despite thriving on sarcasm, tends to usually be far less obvious. On this day, I was not subtle! However, if the ladies did hear, they paid no head and continued to walk the aisles (no pun intended!)
As we slid from Sunday into the short work week, it was time to check the repair status of my winter footwear, and found that at least three pairs of boots were in need of medical attention. The repair man was in full holiday spirit, albeit that from the main character of 'A Christmas Carol'. It would appear that his day had not been good, and he was ready for it to end, but unfortunately the customers just kept on appearing. I commented, with a smile, that it must be a curse to have such a successful business, and apologised for adding to his burden. He achieved a sneer, which was probably as near to a grin as I was going to get, and started to process the state of my boots. After a few more huffs and puffs, presumably in the hope that the house would fall down, and the wolf could go back to snarling at some innocent passing piglets, he took two paper slips and started to write. 'I am giving you two tickets', he told me, 'and I don't want any excuses if you lose them!' Not willing to take offense, I smiled, looked into his very big eyes, and asked if I looked that ditsy. Apparently, the reason for his abrupt attitude was an abundance of females having lost their tickets, most of them on this very day. The last of which had not long left before we arrived, and to describe her as ditsy apparently would have been very polite. Assuming we were therapists (and if I were, I would assume that his issues were sparked by something that happened in his childhood, namely, his father leaving him a thriving shoe repair business!) he unloaded the woes of the day onto the counter and over to us. The penultimate female had arrived just before several other customers, and could not find her ticket. The excuses during the day had varied from changing purses to 'my house fell down'. (Well there were some strong winds and floods recently, probably nothing to do with canines or bacon.) The lady in question had apparently also forgotten that she had got married, and had the cobbler looking for a box with her maiden name printed upon it. After a very long time, the story was over, and he asked if I could pick them up anytime after 2, on Saturday. 'Is Monday okay...I guess that is after 2pm on Saturday', I whimpered. For the first time, he smiled, and said, 'and you said you weren't ditsy!' Oh for the powers of a dalek! I am not sure whether he would have exterminated first! Happy to leave, we made our way back to the office.
With the boots taken care of, it was now time to catch the bird, or at least find one that I could just pop into the oven, without huffing and puffing! My options were open, and I took my basket and skipped, 'red capeless' into the wild yonder to look for the best deal. I did not encounter anyone who was particularly big or bad, and purchased my remaining groceries. By Wednesday evening, the turkey was bathing in its coke and apple juice cocktail, the potatoes were peeled and the green beans were topped and tailed! By the time I went to bed my list had been written and I was hoping that I had not forgotten to add anything. Thursday was not particularly stressful, as once the bird was settled naively in the oven, I set about tantalising the veggies. Cauliflower cheese, green bean casserole, and turkey sausage stuffing balls (oh yes!) sat waiting to enter the furnace, and I called Grandma! (What? It is what my kids call my mum!) Everything was ready and on the table by 2:30, as planned. The beef sausages wore their turkey bacon jackets, (little piggies in blankets, using other meat, taste the same!) and were eagerly consumed. Sweet and regular roast potatoes sat next to the asparagus. The fried okra took its place beside the Brussel sprouts. Samantha had politely asked for me to refrain from taking the cranberry sauce from the tin, as her favourite part of Thanksgiving is opening the can, and watching the dark pink contents plop out in one piece. Finally the gravy and stove stop stuffing was added to the rest of the veritable feast. It was then that I remembered what I had forgotten. No cornbread! However, nobody missed it! After hours of preparation, we devoured the meal as quick as any wolf!
Dessert was compliments of my talented daughter; the pumpkin pie and chocolate pie, were as always, delicious. My plan to use the disposable oven to tableware was quite a coup. The clearing up took far less time than usual, and Dana and I took the dog for a walk and huffed and puffed our way up the hill, all of us with a very full stomach! Samantha and Edward left Frank with us for the night, and went home for a nap, before starting their shopping marathon. I chose not to join them, despite being invited, and let the sandman do his job! I slept like a baby, waking every three hours, as the dog responded to each and every noise that reached those very big ears he has! The first day of my long weekend had come and gone, and on Friday, I was back to being Cinderella, taking on the weekend chores a day early. Dana went into work and took Superdog with him. We ate leftovers for lunch, and I made a care parcel for Hansel and Gretel upon their return, as they had not only found the metaphorical Candy Houses but bought up most of their contents! I was assured that the majority would be returned, as each time they entered a new sweet shop the deals were better than the last! Dana and I treated ourselves to a night at the movies and saw the excellent, but heartbreaking film, Philomena, and then went for coffee and a lemon tart, at the local patisserie.
Having a completely free Saturday was supposed to be a good thing! Edward and Samantha were as eager to continue shopping when they came to pick me up at 8:30am, as they had been when they collected the dog at the same time the previous evening! The wolves were still very much a-wandering, but for the first part of the day, there was very little that could be called comic-al! The joys of the extended Black Friday, and still shopping Saturday will be ............ another story!